Saturday, September 02, 2006

About The "B" Word

God knows there has been enough controversy on this subject, what to call the mother of children lost to adoption, to fill a few blogs. It can cause such rage in those who cling to the "status quo" when they come up against someone like me who refuses to be a "good birfmudder."

I want to say to them, "Honey, you can call YOURSELF whatever you like, but I am a MOTHER, not a disposable incubator or a walking uterus." To me, that is what the title means and how it feels. Contrary to some specious and unresearched claims, this word was first used by author and adopter, Pearl S. Buck. It was used to "differentiate" between the adopter and the mother of the adopted child.

The title of this blog is "Motherhood Deleted" and that is, essentially, what the legal lies of adoption and the relegation of the mother of loss to the realm of a birth-thing have attempted to do to us. However, we have learned, through our grief and our awakenings, that you can put any appellation or expectation you want out there, but Ma Nature, God/dess, The Cosmos, whatever you believe is in charge of life, made us mothers and all the legal paperwork and judicial mumbo-jumbo and tweaking of our title cannot take the motherhood that is firmly entrenched in every cell and atom of our bodies and minds by that power.

So, to the good, little beemommies, who "know their place," knock yourself out diminishing yourself and pleasing the adopters and adoption establishment. But there is no need to be so threatened if there are those of us who have outgrown that kind of thing. I mean, is it any skin off your tush if we ask not be be called a "b-thing?" Of what are you afraid? Why the rants and the attacks? Where is the adult ability to "agree to disagree?" How can it hurt you NOT to call us all "b-things?"

I'd really like to understand why and so would a lot of other people.

Robin Westbrook
True Mother of Four
Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton


Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic blog! i love your writing.

You are right -- we are still mothers to the children that the adoption industry took from us. We discover this truth in reunion, especially. That the bond between mother and child did not disapate.

The adoption industry is a 20th century phenomena. It is driven by big business profits and big government grants. It IS a big business -- selling infants to needy sterile people who have lost their fertility (usually due to age or STDs and those are facts). The adoption industry stands to gain financially if it can convince people that it will sell them parenthood without strings attached. Parenthood with no other parents to "share with." This is a lie, completely and utterly. It invented "Positive Adoption Language" including the term "birthmother" in order to sell the product. No other reason.

But we know the truth: We are still mothers to our lost children. The bond is still there, even if they feel too guilt-ridden and beholden to their adoptive parents to call us "Mother." Like your article, "View from the Back of the Bus" where you talk about our children sneaking behind the adopters' backs in order to visit us. I know THAT scenario all too well!

The term "birthmother" means "former mother, a mother for breeding purposes only." It is a vile insult. Too bad that CUB decided to use it without realizing its true meaning, what Marietta Spencer and Annette Barran and the other "Positive Adoption Language"-promoting baby-brokers knew it meant. Because they and adopters such as Pearl S. Buck knew EXACTLY what it meant, and they were probably overjoyed that natural moms were telling the world that they were content with being "no longer mothers."

Robin, you are a mother, not a birthmother, because you are STILL a mother. You cannot be a mother AND a birthmother because one excludes the other. Like being alive or dead. If you are alive, you cannot be dead. Dead means "previously alive."

Cookie said...

Robin, I think each of us gets to decide what we call ourselves. I intensely like the term birthmother as one word, but I know some who do not. I explain my views to them, but, I do not try to force my opinions on them. I do not understand why there is so much devisiveness amongst birth mother based on terminology. Why do we fight amongst ourselves and denigrate other mothers who relinquished children to adoption if they do not use the term that WE prefer?

I prefer using birth mother as two words. It describes the specific type of mother, just as adoptive mother does. First mother, natural mother - if that is what other women choose to use, fine.

Welcome to the world of blogging! I look forward to hearing more from you! said...

Adding you to my links. Welcome.

illegit said...

I would only ask.. why do so many 'birthmothers' feel so immediately threatened by the 'mothers' who choose not to 'label' themselves with the prequalifier of 'birth'?? Honestly I don't care what another mother chooses to call herself, is her choice. Still why are so many 'birthmothers' constantly defending that term and then, it would appear to me, to be threatened by those who don't choose it. And to add, why is the word 'divisiveness' always said in the same breath as 'birthmother'? Would it make all the 'birthmothers' more comfortable if all mothers who lost a child to adoption, labelled themselves as such? Would all the 'birthmothers' feel more comfortable with themselves if that was the only word used?

Personally I am not threatened by the word 'birthmother' because I personally believe it to be a ridiculous term. I gave birth to ALL 4 of my children, they all took up residence at different times in my womb. I do not call the children born of me and raised by me, my 'birthchildren' nor am I their 'birthmother'. Why would I be 'birthmother'to my child I lost to adoption? Because as I see it, the term birthmother is only equated to adoption, a qualifier in adoption. My child was adopted, I can't change that today, but nor can an adoptor's adoption decree, change the fact that I created this child within my body, gave birth, which makes me...Mother! Just the same as my other 3 children. I did not raise my child lost to adoption, but that never changed the basic fact of life, that my child was born of her mother. The whole birth stuff is ridiculous, fathers don't give birth, sibs don't give birth, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, didn't give birth to the children we brought into this world and lost to adoption, for whatever reason.

There is no 'divisiveness' simply because some mothers choose NOT to wear a label or not wear a pre-qualifier for mother. This birth stuff only benefits the adoptors and the adoption industry. Honest to the God/dess, if someone can tell me, honestly and factually how the term 'birthmother' has enhanced their life as a woman, as a mother, I am all ears.

O! and BTW.. I lost my child to adoption, before the 'birth' term was even coined.. My surrender doc, (that I now have a copy of), simply states, "Mother of....Baby **** ******"!! So who decided I should now be called 'birthmother', when the law at the time of my surrender, simply stated/defined me as 'Mother'??

Iris Eyes said...

I think that the use of the word "mother" is so threatening to some people that they will do whatever they can to avoid/change/disguise it. To some adopted people, it would mean they lost their mother and grew up without her(which they did). To adopters it means they are not a mother(they are not). And to some mothers who surrendered, it means that they really lost their child and their right to raise their child....this they cannot bear to admit, most of all to themselves, so they call themselves "birthmothers" and "rejoice" in their role as "life providers" and "family builders"' for other people. I think these language gymnastics are attempts to keep the truth, and the feelings it provokes, at bay.